Health Care

Infectious Disease Expert Michael Osterholm Predicts When U.S. Coronavirus Cases Will Again Explode

A back-to-school surge in COVID-19 “will far surpass what we saw after Memorial Day.” By Lee Moran HuffPost (8/11/20) Infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm on Monday contradicted President Donald Trump’s fanciful claim that the U.S. will soon be in “very good shape” with the coronavirus pandemic, instead predicting “an explosion” in new cases starting next month. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN’s Don Lemon that the U.S. is “just really beginning to get to the really large part of the problem” with an average of 45,000 to 50,000…

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The ‘American Virus’ — A Naval Officer’s Spouse On Why The US Military Pushes Empire Over Public & Global Health

  Our ever-mobile military has become a significant conduit of its spread, both domestically and abroad. By Andrea Mazzarino TomDispatch (8/4/20) American military personnel are getting sick in significant numbers in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. As The New York Times reported in a piece buried in the back pages of its July 21st edition, “The infection rate in the services has tripled over the past six weeks as the United States military has emerged as a potential source of transmission both domestically and abroad.” Indeed, the military is sick and I think of it as both a personal and an imperial disaster….


WEAK STATE: How The Pandemic Stripped Bare America’s Empty, Incompetent, Dysfunctional System

Flailing State Intercepted (7/22/20) AS DONALD TRUMP promises the pandemic will “disappear,” the U.S. simultaneously grapples with a public health disaster, economic collapse, and a social crisis. This week on Intercepted: Intercept reporter Murtaza Hussain is joined by military expert and anthropologist David Kilcullen. He discusses the global national security implications unleashed by the coronavirus and the decline in U.S. dominance and the liberal international system. Kilcullen also examines the catastrophic consequences that could come from rising tensions within the country and between the U.S. and China. Hussain is also joined by Indian writer Pankaj Mishra, author of many books including “From the Ruins of Empire: The…


Beleaguered State Health Care Workers Call Out Lawmakers Who Want To Throw Out Health Protection Mask Guideline

  By Eric Gunn Wisconsin Examiner (8/6/20) Frustrated at threats from Republican lawmakers to overturn Wisconsin’s statewide mask mandate aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, a group of health care workers and supporters told reporters on the steps of the state Capitol on Thursday that the Legislature should set other priorities. “On top of working a full shift, and overtime for a lot of us in a busy hospital, we’re then coming down here to ask our representatives to do their jobs — to do the bare minimum of what we expect from them. It’s infuriating, it’s frustrating and…


Covid Bloodbath: Medical Industrial Complex Killing You Off For Wall Street Profits

The pandemic is an exciting time to profit off the poor.  By Moe Tkacik In These Times (8/3/20) As the coronavirus continues to batter the U.S., the horror stories still sound the same: basic medical supplies nowhere to be found, new patients keep showing up gasping for air, nurses with impossible workloads and back-to-back-to-back shifts, hospital staff with inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) getting sick. It might even sound like no one with any power in American healthcare has learned much since March, but that’s not true, according to Saum Sutaria, chief operating officer of Tenet Healthcare, a massive, for-profit hospital chain. “We’ve learned a tremendous amount,” Sutaria…


We’re Thinking Of Covid-19 The Wrong Way. It’s Not A Wave – It’s A Wildfire

Like a fire, the virus relentlessly seeks out its fuel, humans, and will keep spreading as long as it has access to that. By Michael T Osterholm & Mark Olshaker The Guardian (8/4/20) We have no previous experience with a worldwide coronavirus pandemic, so when Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, began spreading, public health experts leaned on our experiences with influenza pandemics to inform their predictions. These pandemics are often described in terms of “waves” and “troughs”. We have now seen enough to replace the ocean analogy with a better one: wildfire. Like a wildfire, the virus relentlessly seeks out fuel (human hosts),…


Wake Up: The Coronavirus Is Airborne. Keep Saying It.

There is no time to waste.  By Michael A, Fisher Salon (7/31/20) In the U.S., COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire. At the same time, the research community is learning more and more about how the coronavirus gets from one person to another. There are many nuances, and we don’t know everything about it yet. But we’re in an emergency, and we do have actionable facts. To help break through the noise, the public should be warned, plainly, and often: The coronavirus is airborne. Researchers and medical practitioners have spent months pressing the public health establishment to evolve on messaging about the ways that COVID-19 spreads. At first, many experts thought…


Opening Schools. Really? 260 Kids, Staffers Tested Positive For COVID-19 In Outbreak At Georgia Summer Camp

  If you have rampant and rapid community spread, then there is no opening school, there is no opening colleges. It is not going to work. [Editor’s Note: Hey, America, reality is calling: Some schools may reopen, but none of them will stay open. Thanks to such stellar national leadership, this fall is going to be hell. — Mark L. Taylor] By Mary Papenfuss Huffington Post (7/31/20) In a startling finding with disturbing implications for schools, 260 children and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak that spread in just days at a summer camp in northern Georgia, according…


Get Ready For The Wisconsin Road Trip To Hell This Autumn

  Mask or ventilator? Really, which is more uncomfortable? By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/3/20) Recently, I was up in Door County for a couple days. Mileage from there to here, 255 miles … a 5-plus hour drive. I left for home late Saturday afternoon, about 4 p.m. On the way through Sturgeon Bay I stopped for gas. I was the only one wearing a mask. Neither of the two employees nor any of the four other customers who gassed up while I was there were masked. The town was filled with tourists and the gas station was…


Where’s The Money To Address Pandemic? Time To Crack Open The Tax Havens

There are trillions of dollars’ worth of cash and other assets tucked away in offshore tax havens belonging to both private individuals and large corporations. The Real Story / BBC (7/24/20) While the coronavirus pandemic is raging around the world, discussions over rebuilding the global economy are already underway. Globally, the recovery will cost trillions of dollars. Governments and finance ministries are working around the clock to design financial packages at a time when income from tax has hit rock bottom. There’s concern that many governments will have to raise taxes to cope with the shortfall in revenue. But what…


Democratic Leaders Have Protected Insurance Companies & Blocked Real Healthcare Reform For Decades. Time To Give ‘Em Hell.

  By Jeff Cohen Common Dreams (7/28/20) In 1948, Harry Truman pushed for a national nonprofit health insurance program in his successful, come-from-behind presidential campaign. When Truman’s plan was denounced as “socialized medicine” and “un-American” by the powerful American Medical Association, “Give ‘’Em Hell Harry” stood his ground, defending his proposal as “simple Christianity.” In 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson secured passage of Medicare (and Medicaid), he traveled to Missouri to formally sign it into law in Truman’s presence—declaring that “the real daddy of Medicare” was Truman. Medicare was federal health insurance for those 65 and older, but proponents hoped it was…


Health Care ‘Scaredy-Crats’ Abandon The Voters At A Time Of Great Need … Again

  By Mike McCabe, Executive Director Our Wisconsin Revolution (7/28/20) I’ve said it many times before and will say it again. We have one party that’s scary and another that’s scared in this country. The Republican Party grows scarier by the day. And on the crucial issue of health care, establishment Democrats are proving themselves not only afraid to lead, but even afraid to follow public opinion.   That vote was all about the establishment working the system, abandoning progressive principles and obstructing change. Polling in April showed that 69% of voters in the U.S. support Medicare for All. Support among…


The Callous Dollar-And-Cents Decisions New York Made During Pandemic Crisis

Money was THE determining life-or-death factor for thousands. By Michael Barbaro The Daily / New York Times (7/27/20) A New York Times investigation found that surviving the coronavirus in New York had a lot to do with which hospital a person went to. Our investigative reporter Brian M. Rosenthal pulls back the curtain on inequality and the pandemic in the city. On today’s episode: Brian M. Rosenthal, an investigative reporter on the Metro Desk of The New York Times. Background reading: At the peak of New York’s pandemic, patients at some community hospitals were three times more likely to die than were…


FDA Warns Of Methanol Contaminated Hand Sanitizers That Can Make You Go Blind

Over 60 commercial hand sanitizers have been discovered to contain methanol, which can be deadly. By Nicole Karlis Salon (7/18/20) Most hand sanitizers contain some form of alcohol, a disinfectant; yet as any distiller will tell you, not all alcohols are created equal. Inexperienced or unscrupulous chemists may accidentally create toxic alcohols, including one which can cause blindness. Something like this appears have happened during the production of some hand sanitizer, a hot commodity during the global pandemic. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some hand sanitizers that are labeled as containing ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol, and…


Nightmarish Autumn Confronts US As Covid-19 Surges: ‘The virus doesn’t care about excuses’:

As dire as the current position seems, the months ahead look even worse. By Tom McCarthy The Guardian (7/18/20) In early June, the United States awoke from a months-long nightmare. Coronavirus had brutalized the north-east, with New York City alone recording more than 20,000 deaths, the bodies piling up in refrigerated trucks. Thousands sheltered at home. Rice, flour and toilet paper ran out. Millions of jobs disappeared. But then the national curve flattened, governors declared success and patrons returned to restaurants, bars and beaches. “We are winning the fight against the invisible enemy,” vice-president Mike Pence wrote in a 16 June op-ed,…


Did Covid-19 Get Loose From A Lab? ‘Gain Of Threat’ Research At UW-Wisconsin & Other Labs Around The World Place World At Risk

“Whatever value that research would provide can’t possibly equal the threat.” [Editor’s Note: The role of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the National Institute of Health and the Gates Foundation in funding gain of threat research at the Wuhan laboratories is a story that needs more exploration and exposure. — Mark L. Taylor] Ralph Nader Radio Hour (7/18/20) Ralph welcomes back Andrew Kimbrell, founder of the Center for Food Safety, to discuss the dangers of genetically engineered viruses and the possibility that COVID-19 escaped from a lab. And Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, tells…


Child Sacrifice: America Is Completely Unprepared For Coming School Year. This Will Be Bad

Our inability to solve or even avoid devastating problems is now immediate, local and clear. By Siva Vaidhyanathan The Guardian (7/13/20) The public school district in Charlottesville, Virginia, has proposed a model for schooling this fall that resembles what most districts are trying to do. Because state health officials recommend putting three to six feet between students, and because classrooms were already crowded and schools over-enrolled, the district leadership has decided to alternate attendance. Half the student population will attend Mondays and Wednesdays. The other half will attend Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays will be for teacher preparation and deep cleaning. As…


What’s Missing From The Biden-Bernie Task Force Health Plan? Medicare For All & Basic Human Decency

The recommendations are an improvement on Biden’s previous healthcare plans, but a public option won’t cut it. We need free, universal coverage. By Natalie Shure In These Times (7/9/20) On Wednesday, the “unity task forces” set up by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden rolled out a set of policy recommendations for the candidate, and, by extension, for the party writ large. Launched in May, the group behind the proposed platform was comprised of a core of establishment-aligned politicos as well as allies of Bernie Sanders, the primary’s runner-up whose campaign advanced an agenda squarely to the left of Biden. While…


Coronavirus: Why Surviving The Virus May Be Just The Beginning

“Covid is a nasty, nasty disease that kicks every single system you’ve got in the neck.” By Chris Morris Reality Check / BBC (7/3/20) The first thing Simon Farrell can remember, after being woken from a medically induced coma, is trying to tear off his oxygen mask. He had been in intensive care for 10 days, reliant on a ventilator just to breathe. “I was trying to pull the mask off my face, and the nurse kept putting it back on,” he recalls. When doctors woke him up, his body had fought off the worst of Covid-19 but he still…


Episode 98 — Harsh Reality: “Ladies and Gentlemen, This Is The Plague”

  There has never been a consistent policy in dealing with this epidemic. We are a pariah on the planet. A nuclear bomb covid explosion. By Michael Moore Rumble (7/7/20) Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Laurie Garrett has been the most blunt and forthright analyst warning the public about how destructive the virus will be. She has been sounding the alarm on our lack of preparedness for a pandemic since her 1994 book, “The Coming Plague.” Her warnings were not heeded. The United States has now bungled it’s response and we are hitting record-high…


Mike McCabe: Freedom Is To Do What Is Right By Wearing A Mask To Keep Our Neighbors Safe

True freedom is more than individual liberty. With freedom comes the responsibility not to hurt others with our actions. By Mike McCabe Our Wisconsin Revolution (7/7/20) Watch and weep. One man interviewed by a reporter who was berated for wearing a mask at a crowded public gathering insisted that being an American means “I should be able to do what I want to.” A woman told that same reporter that having to wear a mask is “against our constitutional rights.” No, it’s not. The U.S. Constitution is silent on mask wearing. And freedom doesn’t mean doing as you damn well please….


In A Book Written 15 Years Ago, Historian Mike Davis Warned Of A Virus-Induced Apocalypse

If the book has a villain, it is private industry: from the pharmaceutical giants, whose market-led inaction has halted research into influenza, to the rise of factory farming, and the industrialization of nature. By John Merrick Jacobin (7/7/20) Mike Davis has good claim to being the most important Marxist historian of the past fifty years. While his work may not have the vast geographical or temporal scope of Perry Anderson, Ellen Meiksins Wood, or Robert Brenner, nor has it mined a particular period or subject with the focus of a figure like E. P. Thompson, Robin Blackburn, or Christopher Hill,…


Time To Grow Up, America. Or Die.

“The country is now seeing more than 40,000 new infections a day while the European Union, which has more people, is seeing fewer than 6,000. About half the new cases are coming from California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona. Florida’s cases increased by 277 percent in the past two weeks; Texas’s by 184 percent, and Arizona’s by 145 percent. “As our national confirmed deaths are approaching 130,000 people, Arizona recently released a new triage scoring system to help healthcare providers decide how to allocate resources if they must make choices about which patients to treat.” — Heather Cox Richardson, Letter From…


HELP THIS WORKER! Time To Get Corporate Profit Gouging Out Of Health Care: Essential 3M Worker Hit With $1,840 When Ordered To Get Tested For COVID-19″

In a bitter ironic twist, she works as a supervisor at a 3M distribution center for N95 masks. [Editor’s Note: This is about as perverse as things get in America’s so-called health (corporate wealth) care system. And, of course, 3M, which is making huge profits off government contracts, abandoned a worker that makes those profits possible. Disgusting. If you would like to express your displeasure to 3M, call: (888) 364-3577. Time for Medicare For All. — Mark L. Taylor] By Sarah Varney MPR (6/30/20) Carmen Quintero works an early shift as a supervisor at a 3M distribution warehouse that ships…


Fauci Hobbles His Own Credibility As He Casually Acknowledges Past Lying About Necessity Of Mask Use

“All governments lie.” — I.F. “Izzy” Stone [Editor’s Note: As of an online search late Sunday (6/21) none of the corporate media had reported on this issue, even though it came out on June 12. Given the public health risk from lack of mask wearing in much of the nation, it is an issue that needs to be fully reported. — Mark L. Taylor] By Matt Novak Gizmodo (6/13/20) Dr. Anthony Fauci has been hailed as a hero during the coronavirus pandemic, delivering thoughtful health advice while most members of the Trump regime have spread misinformation about covid-19. But there’s…


Can We All Go Back To Normal Now?  Pandemic Update Interview With Dr. Michael Osterholm

  This is a 4.7 hurricane, potentially, coming down the pike.  TUC Radio (6/16/20) Dr. Michael Osterholm had told USA Today earlier this year: ‘We’re just in the second inning of a nine-inning game’ That’s why members of the Midway Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota met with him on line on June 12, 2020. He gave an update and they asked him questions. “This is just just getting started. This is just the warm up. This is not the big harangue, yet.” Dr. Osterholm holds many titles and functions at the University of Minnesota, among them Regents Professor in Public…


How About That, Congressional Liars Had The Money For ‘Medicare For All’ All Along

Our political class only worries about deficits and so-called fiscal responsibility when spending might actually help ordinary people. By David Sirota TMI (6/16/20) In recent weeks, we’ve seen health care industry CEOs report paying themselves $2.4 billion as 27 million people were thrown off their health care coverage. We’ve also seen Americans being charged anywhere from $400,000 to $1.1 million for COVID treatment, and facing $2,000 bills for coronavirus tests. In response, polls show Americans remain deeply concerned about the current health care system, and support for Medicare for All has surged. And yet, despite data showing that a single-payer system would save big money, surveys still indicate some popular trepidation about the price tag…


The Virus Will Win: Once Again, We Have Come Up Short

Americans are pretending that the pandemic is over. It certainly is not. By Yascha Mounk The Atlantic (6/12/20) A second wave of the coronavirus is on the way. When it arrives, we will lack the will to deal with it. Despite all the sacrifices of the past months, the virus is likely to win—or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it already has. In absolute terms, the United States has been hit harder than any other country. About a quarter of worldwide deaths have been recorded on these shores. And while the virus is no longer growing at an exponential…


What Should The Punishment Be For The Crime Of Weaponizing A Virus For Political Purposes?

Putting politics and Trump’s ego above the lives of American citizens. By Thom Hartmann Common Dreams (6/16/20) Trump’s scheduled rally in Tulsa this weekend and his moving the Republican convention to Florida both demonstrate that he is more than willing to take actions that will kill Americans in order to get his ego stroked and increase his chances of reelection. A new book by Trump’s niece tells the story of how Donald Trump cut off payments for his nephew’s medical treatment, who had cerebral palsy, as a negotiating weapon to extract more money from his father‘s estate. Meanwhile, scientists report…


When Being Sick Prompts Fears For Workers Of Being Fired

‘No-fault’ absence policies can increase workplace risks in the COVID-19 pandemic. By Erik Gunn Wisconsin Examiner (6/10/20) In late May, Mike Jackson collapsed on the job at Briggs & Stratton’s factory on Milwaukee’s Northwest Side. A few days later, on May 28, the 45-year-old father of eight died of COVID-19 after having worked for days or possibly weeks while he was ill with the deadly virus. “Prior to that, he had been fighting to win protections against the spread of this pandemic in the workplace,” says Christine Neumann-Ortiz, director of Voces de la Frontera, the Milwaukee-based immigrant rights group, which…


Here’s Why You Need To Wear A Damn Mask & Keep Your Distance To Be A Good Neighbor

Could nearly half of those with Covid-19 have no idea they are infected? By David Cox The Guardian (5/30/20) When Noopur Raje’s husband fell critically ill with Covid-19 in mid-March, she did not suspect that she too was infected with the virus. Raje, an oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, had been caring for her sick husband for a week before driving him to an emergency centre with a persistently high fever. But after she herself had a diagnostic PCR test – which looks for traces of the Sars-CoV-2 virus DNA in saliva – she was astounded to find…


Dear, Jesus! Groveling To Evangelicals, CDC Drops Warning About COVID-19 Risks In Choirs

The federal health agency backs off its guideline even though a single choir practice in Washington state infected 52 people and led to 2 deaths. By Mary Papenfuss HuffPost (5/29/20) The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday suddenly dropped its warning about the risk of choirs spreading COVID-19 at religious services after being told to do so by White House officials, The Washington Post reported. The warning was omitted even though choirs can become “super-spreader” events infecting large groups of people at once. Singing can increase the intensity of “aerosol emission” of the coronavirus. Nearly all 61…


How Will COVID-19 Change The World? Medical Historian Frank Snowden On Epidemics From The Black Death To Now

Democracy Now! (5/18/20) Pandemics, like revolution, war and economic crises, are key determinants of historic change. We look at the history of epidemics, from Black Death to smallpox to COVID-19, and discuss how the coronavirus will reshape the world with leading medical historian Frank Snowden, author of “Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present.” He is a professor emeritus at Yale University who has been in Italy since the pandemic began, and himself survived a COVID-19 infection. Link To Story, Transcript And 38-Minute Video  


“Criminal” — Bipartisan Failure Leads To Relaxing Of Federal Guidelines Leading To Rising Number Of Infected & Dead Health Care Workers

“…the biggest safety and health failure that has ever occurred in this country. The toll on working people is already enormous.” By  Jennifer Gollan & Elizabeth Shogren Reveal / Center For Investigative Reporting (5/11/20) ick Lucas’ cellphone chimed, alerting him to an emergency in the acute care unit. He wondered whether it would be another case of COVID-19. He pulled on his thin surgical mask and dashed into a room where a patient was fighting to breathe. Lucas, a critical care nurse, and his team at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus worked quickly, finding a vein for an IV…


See The Chilling Virus Warnings Trump Ignored – Before Pandemic Outbreak | The Beat With Ari Melber

The Beat / MSNBC (5/27/20) The coronavirus has upended most of the world, but there were key warnings about pandemics in general, and the virus specifically, that were often ignored, downplayed or even punished. MSNBC’s Ari Melber documents this crucial history – and what can be learned from it now – in this exhaustive special report spanning years of expert research, warnings and even the fateful final months as the virus approached the U.S. early 2020. Melber also discusses a “Cassandra effect,” where some experts who got it right were sidelined and faced alleged retaliation by the Trump Administration. Link…


Onward Christian Liars: ‘Jane Roe’s’ Deathbed Confession Exposes The Corrupt Big Money Immorality Of The Christian Right

Sadly, it seems as though many anti-choice extremists don’t have much of a soul to lose in the first place. By Arwa Mahdawi The Guardian (5/21/20) What would you do for almost half a million dollars? Would you very publicly denounce your past life and pretend to be an anti-abortion, born-again, ex-gay Christian? Thanks to her newly public deathbed confession, we now know that’s what Norma McCorvey, best known for being the plaintiff known as Jane Roe in the 1973 landmark supreme court case abortion rights case Roe v Wade, did. In 1969, a 22-year-old McCorvey was pregnant and scared. She’d had…


Hong Kong Research Shows Wearing A Face Mask Can Reduce Coronavirus Transmission Up To 75%

  Fox News 6 Now (5/20/20) HONG KONG– Researchers have found that wearing surgical masks can significantly reduce the rate of airborne COVID-19 transmission, according to a study released on Sunday. The study, conducted by a team of scientists in Hong Kong, found the rate of non-contact transmission through respiratory droplets or airborne particles dropped by as much as 75 percent when masks were used. “The findings implied to the world and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is huge,” said Dr. Yuen Kwok-yung, a leading microbiologist from Hong Kong University who helped discover…


Time To Indict & Punish The Perpetrators Of Systemic Racial Covid Mass Death

  By Glen Ford Black Agenda Report (5/21/20) Not just Trump, but the whole US ruling class must pay for the mass Covid death toll among Blacks, because only the ruling class has the power to systematically allocate life-death chances for whole populations over generations. “To limit the indictment to Donald Trump and his administration would be an insult to today’s dead and dying.” The United States finds myriad ways of killing Black people – of negating the term “Black lives matter.” The novel, or new, coronavirus is ending the lives of African Americans at a nationwide rate that is 2.6 times…


Why Don’t Americans Trust Experts Anymore?

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ― Issac Asimov Amanpour & Company (5/15/20) A tussle between science and politics is defining the pandemic response of the Trump administration. How did this increasing rejection of expertise get started? Professor Tom Nichols wrote a prescient book on the subject in 2017, and joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss. Link…


Can You Stay Safe With States Reopening? An Expert Explains How To Assess Risk When Reconnecting With Friends & Family

Michigan’s outbreak looks different from Iowa’s, which looks different from Colorado’s. Even within states, outbreaks are very distinct.  By Ryan Malosh The Conversation (5/18/20) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has finally released new guidelines for businesses, bars and schools that are considering reopening. Although following these guidelines should help, it’s frustrating there hasn’t been more clear, concise communication about the risk of infection. And without strict guidelines, it will be up to us to minimize our own risk and the risk of everyone around us. In large part, this is because there is still so much we scientists and physicians don’t know about…